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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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Skyquake87's Review: Generations Voyager Class Roadbuster

Name : Roadbuster
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Ground Assault Commander

Bio: Ask this Autobot who his greatest enemy is and he won't name a Decepticon. He'll say its boredom. To him, there's simply nothing more entertaining than turning a few Decepticons into a smoldering pile of scrap and he never misses a chance to pursue his favourite pastime. Few Autobots are more eager to hurl themselves into combat, and fewer still have accomplished more on the field of battle.

Roadbuster was a fairly innocuous toy back in the day. One of a number of moulds Hasbro and Takara sourced from other companies to add to the burgeoning ranks of the Transformers back in 1985. Roadbuster and Whirl both originated in the defunct and long forgotten Dorvack line, and in common with a lot of 'sourced' Transformers toys, were stylistically different from Takara's own offerings that made up the bulk of the Transformers line. The figures' licensed nature meant they were largely ignored, with only Jetfire/ Skyfire being the notable exception. Until Simon Furman came along, that is. He ensured Roadbuster lasting infamy by making him part of the starting line up of The Wreckers, the elite Autobot brawlers sent on all the difficult missions. Roadbuster hasn't said or done much in the 20 odd years since his debut in Target: 2006, which somehow suits his rather taciturn and blunt personality, but has ensured he's always there in any iteration of The Wreckers, looming at the back, bristling with guns.

Along with a bunch of other Transformers, Roadbuster was never made available in the UK in his original form, being one of those strange exotic toys that only the US seemed to get. This made him of instant appeal to me, and I've wanted to own him since forever. Needless to say, as a minor character and something of a cult, tracking down a complete original toy these days is an expensive do, so he's just stayed on my wish list.

Then Generations happened and we got not one, but two actual proper Roadbuster toys (after years and years of name appropriations on a load of mixed-bag repaints). The first one was a recolour and minor retool of the frankly awful Fall Of Cybertron Swindle toy in the wrong colours, no less. So, no, not good enough. Try again, Hasbro. Frankly, I was surprised they did, but having updated Whirl, perhaps its no surprise that Roadbuster followed on. So! Rejoice, ye multitudes, now you too can own the childhood favourite you never knew you had...but is he any good?

Well I had my misgivings, having looked at the pictures of him online, as you do...

Robot Mode: The humanoid form is almost a straight update of the original toy. He has these nice boxy shoulders, a great head sculpt -which is all emotionless robot death-skull these toned looking arms and some tough looking armoured, er, thighs. Sadly, the rest of his legs is where it all goes a bit wrong. The lower legs and shins are these hollow planks with two pankcake flat feet dangling off them like he's wearing half mast trousers and he has these ruddy great wheels which just get in the way. He also feels very light, which isn't what I was expecting from a great big clanking shooting tank of robot like Roadbuster. Probably shouldn't have come as a surprise these days, but I do miss the denser, tougher plastics of ten years ago. These honey-combed gap toothed robots of today really don't do it for me. He looks alright, but I dunno, there's just something off about him. Still, at least he has some nice painted sections.

Alternate Mode: Now this is more like it! That lanky great robot packs away into this tough little off road combat vehicle. He has monster-truck like proportions thanks to the epic ground clearance he has with those great big wheels (which evoke the same feelings in me as those farm vehicles on the original Postman Pat animated show). It is a huge improvement over whatever the original toy was supposed to be, giving him a fearsome vehicle mode to match his blocky robot mode. And it rolls really nicely something which is awesome as a lot of vehicular Transformers of late haven't had great play value in car mode. I do end up wondering if the vehicle mode was the starting point for Roadbuster it would explain why parts of the robot mode feel a bit compromised and lacking.


Marks Out Of Ten For The Following:

Transformation Design: No bones about it, Roadbuster does have a very nicely done set of twists and turns. I like how those flat paddles that pass for feet slot into the roof of the vehicle mode proving they're not a total dead loss. Everything else clicks and crunches nicely into place. 9/10

Durability: Roadbuster's durability is questionable. He feels resilient, but the stress the joints put on the toy when you're playing or transforming him are worrying, despite how tough the plastics feel. 6/10

Articulation: Ratchet joints. They're good aren't they? Yes they are. So someone thought it'd be super awesome to make nearly all of Roadbuster's joints out of these. Whilst it's good that he's not likely to wear out and become a floppy mess anytime soon, they're exceptionally tight and whilst there's no faulting the decision to put them in his legs, knees and ankles, the shoulders are something else. They're just far too tough and heavy for him and put the plastics under incredible strain. With the large amount of weaponry he has to carry, the choices used on the arms are questionable. He's got these weird double jointed biceps on swivel joints that connect to a tough ratchet joint at the elbow and you can just feel the swivel joints are going to wear down over time. The lack of wrist joints is also a bit of a shame. So, some er, interesting choices made with the articulation. 6/10

Fun: For years, Transformers have come with piddly little guns. This design tick is a hangover from the 1990s, which HasTak have been unwilling to let go of wherein the weapon tucks away somewhere on the alt mode. Like Whirl, Roadbuster bucks this trend by coming with ALL the guns. It's great to have a bunch of weapons to tool Roadbuster up with. Plus, they can all be clipped together in a variety of different ways which is cool. They certainly add to Roadbuster's character too. The vehicle mode is also tops, being a great thing to rumble around stacked up with guns shooting at things. Less fun are the 30 or so tiny stickers he comes with. These piddly things if applied as per the instructions, do dangle over a lot of the edges of the surfaces on the toy, leaving fingernail like slithers of clear sticky plastic poking off him. I quickly cottoned onto this, and just started switching the orientation and location for the stickers to make them work for me. Pedants with time and a modelling knife will no doubt do a better job. He also comes with a Wreckers Autobot insignia (who knew they had one?), but there isn't space for both this and the regular Autobot one, so that's destined to fester unused. 8/10

Price/Value: I picked Roadbuster up for 30 at Auto Assembly. It's more than I would have liked to have paid, in all honesty, but seems to be the going rate for Generations Voyagers toys these days. Living in Europe, I'd be hard pressed to get the figure for the usual RRP of 23 this scale of toy currently costs, let alone the original version. Might be worth waiting on any online sales to pick him up. 6/10

Overall: I wanted to like Roadbuster, but I knew from the online pictures I'd seen of him he was a bit of sketchy mess and was half expecting that he wouldn't deliver in hand and I was right. Although Generations Whirl has his faults (apparently), Roadbuster feels like a less successful update of the old Dorvack toy than Whirl. He's just a bit too gangly and his legs are horrible and there's just none of the weight or presence the guy should have. He's saved by an armoury of weapons and a great vehicle mode, but there's just that nagging thought that he could have been so much better. 7/10
 
 
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